Book Review - Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Tuesday October 13, 2009

by Maggie Stiefvater
Available October 1, 2009
James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening.

But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.

I'm not really sure how I came across the first book in this series, Lament, but I think it was while reading some blogs last year that recommended it as a good read. I ordered for the library and decided to read it before putting it out on the shelf because I hadn't heard much about the content just that it was a pretty good book.

Lament actually ended up being one of my most favorite books...ever. Maggie is a wonderful storyteller and her writing is just magical. I have been anticipating Ballad for months now and was completely happy with the results. I was worried that I would be too focused on missing the main characters from Lament, Dee and Luke but James and Nuala's story is just as compelling and we do get glints of Dee and Luke here and there.

The setting for Ballad is a private high school for super talented musicians where James and Dee both attend. Dee is overwhelmed with thoughts of Luke and James must deal with the fact that his love is unrequited. When he meets Nuala he senses how dangerous she is but is immediately drawn to her.

Despite her intentions there is something different about James and Nuala takes risks to find out more about him. When the battle lines are drawn between humans and faeries she must make choices and decide where she belongs.

Exquisite writing and an enchanting tale make this a must read. It may be my own wishful thinking but the ending definitely leaves the possibility for more to the story...but that, ladies and gentlemen, is still a tale to be told...

Appropriate for 8th grade and up.